Azure Active Directory (AAD) Domain Services allows organizations to “lift-and-shift” apps that use on-premises AD for authentication to the cloud, extending the capabilities of AAD to provide many of the features of on-premise Windows Server Active Directory (AD) but without the effort of installing domain controllers (DCs), setting up ExpressRoute or a VPN to connect on-premise DCs to Azure.
Domain Services extends AAD to support Kerberos, NTLM, Group Policy, domain join, LDAP bind and read, Secure LDAP, custom domain names, DNS management, and custom Organizational Units (OUs). In addition to these features, it provides high availability, account lockout protection, and management using familiar tools.
In the first part of this two-part series, I’ll show you how to set up Domain Services in Azure and configure DNS. In the second part, I’ll discuss password hash synchronization requirements and how to perform a domain join operation.
Before you can set up Domain Services in Azure, you’ll need an Azure subscription and at least one Azure Active Directory tenant. It’s also worth noting that Domain Services isn’t available in all regions. To check availability for the region you intend to work in, see Microsoft’s website here. If you’re not familiar with Azure AD, check out What is Azure Active Directory? on Petri.
Let’s get started and deploy a new Domain Services resource in Azure. Log in to Azure and follow the instructions below.
It will take a few minutes to create the Domain Services resource. You should get a notification in the top right of the Azure management portal when the deployment has completed. If not, refresh the console in the browser.
Now we need to update the DNS configuration for the VNET so that VMs can find the new domain. If you are not automatically redirected to the Overview page for the new Domain Services resource, you’ll need to manually find it.
Any VMs that are running will need to be restarted to pick up the changes to DNS configuration.
In the second part of this series, I’ll show you how to make sure that password hashes are synchronized from AAD to Domain Services, and how to join a Windows Server Azure VM to the new domain.